Urgent Museum Notice

The Concert

Close up of The Concert

Painting of a trio of smiling musicians. On the left, a man wears a large black hat and plays the violin. On the right sits a man in orange wearing a feathered hat and playing the mandolin. In the center sits a woman dressed in black, opening her mouth in song.
Painting of a trio of smiling musicians. On the left, a man wears a large black hat and plays the violin. On the right sits a man in orange wearing a feathered hat and playing the mandolin. In the center sits a woman dressed in black, opening her mouth in song.
Judith Leyster, The Concert, ca. 1633; Oil on canvas, 24 x 34 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Along with tavern scenes and intimate domestic genre pieces, Judith Leyster frequently painted musical performance scenes. In The Concert, Leyster accurately depicts elements such as the Baroque violin (made without a chin rest and usually supported against the chest), as well as the woman’s songbook.

The figures shown here are likely portraits. Based on similar individuals in Leyster’s other pictures, scholars have tentatively identified the singer as the artist herself, the violinist as her husband, and the lute player as a family friend. The members of the trio, like all musicians, must work together as a unit, “in concert,” which has led some writers to theorize that this scene symbolizes the virtue of harmony.

Leyster frequently placed her subjects against a plain, monochromatic background. Thus, nothing distracted from the figures, who are all shown in the midst of various actions (bowing or plucking strings and beating time). The deep angle at which the lute is held adds depth to the composition. The varied directions of the musicians’ gazes offer the viewer different focal points.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Judith Leyster
  • Title

    The Concert
  • Date

    ca. 1633
  • Medium

    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions

    24 x 34 1/4 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay
  • On Display

    No